President Trump signs 9/11 victims' compensation fund extension

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Entertainer and activist Jon Stewart, speaks at a news conference on behalf of 9/11 victims and families, Friday, July 12, 2019 (AP) Entertainer and activist Jon Stewart, speaks at a news conference on behalf of 9/11 victims and families, Friday, July 12, 2019 (AP)
WASHINGTON (AP) -

President Donald Trump has signed a bill ensuring that a victims' compensation fund related to the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money.

Appearing in the Rose Garden on Monday with first responders from the 2001 terrorist attacks, Trump approved a bill extending the fund through 2092, essentially making it permanent.

The $7.4 billion fund had been rapidly depleting, and administrators recently cut benefit payments by up to 70%.

The bill passed Congress on a bipartisan basis but only after delays by some Republicans that exposed the legislative branch to withering criticism from activists, including comedian Jon Stewart.

More than 40,000 people have applied to the fund, which covers illnesses potentially related to being at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon or Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after the attacks.


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The Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill ensuring that a victims' compensation fund related to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks never runs out of money.

The 97-2 vote sends the bill to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.

The vote came after Democratic senators agreed to allow votes on amendments sponsored by two Republican senators who had been blocking the widely popular bill. The Senate easily defeated the amendments proposed by GOP Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

(More: Jon Stewart chokes up and slams Congress over treatment of 9/11 first responders)

(More: The 200th firefighter just died from a 9/11-related illness)

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said 9/11 first responders and their families have had "enough of political games."

The bill would extend through 2092 a fund created after the 2001 terrorist attacks, essentially making it permanent.
 

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